Tales from the Road: IFT 2016

Carnita

Another successful IFT is in the books for Didion! This year at our booth we served up a new take on the classic carnita – a dish traditionally consisting of shredded pork served in burritos, tacos or tamales.

Didion’s Cantina CORN-ita used our HarvestGold corn meal to create a flat corn pancake base, replacing the traditional tortilla. The pancake was then topped with pulled pork, guacamole, sour cream, fresh cilantro, and a hint of key lime juice. Using corn meal enhanced the texture, color and especially the flavor of the CORN-ita!

Check out this behind-the-scenes look at our CORN-itas being made at our booth during the show:

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Our team had a blast in Chicago and we hope that all of you who attended did as well!

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Picnic Perfect

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Summer is almost officially here! As the weather heats up, people head outdoors. What better way to enjoy the weather than spending time outdoors with friends and family at a picnic? June 18th is International Picnic Day – pack up your blanket and basket and pick the perfect spot!

While you’re preparing your picnic, don’t forget our favorite food item here at Didion – corn! Besides the summer staple of sweet corn on the cob, you can find field corn in a number of picnic-ready products.

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Did you know that when you’re grilling your burgers or brats with charcoal, you’re using a corn product? Corn is commonly used in charcoal as a binding agent to help the briquettes keep their shape!

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Or how about when you grab a nice cold beer from the cooler? You might be enjoying another corn product! Corn grits are used by a number of breweries as an adjunct to the barley malt, creating a lighter, pilsner-type beer.

 

Just another example of how corn is perfect for any occasion!

Celebrating National Corn on the Cob Day!

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It’s grilling season – the perfect time to enjoy a delicious ear of corn on the cob. Especially in honor of National Corn on the Cob Day on June 11th! But did you know the corn you are eating is probably not the type of corn that you drive by every day? In fact, in the United States, there is about 394 times more field corn grown than there is sweet corn!

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Field Corn, also known as dent corn, is the traditional corn that you see driving past cornfields. These are the very tall corn ears that you see harvested in the fall. Field corn is also referred to as dent corn because of the indent that each of the kernels get as the corn dries out. Dent corn is very dry and mainly used to make animal feed and ethanol, though it is also used for food processing. Some of the products that field corn can be made into include: corn meal, corn flour, whole grain corn flours, pregelatinized corn flours, corn grits, corn bran and yeast protein.

fresh-picked-corn[1]Sweet Corn

Sweet corn, on the other hand, is the type of corn that can be eaten off the cob. This type of corn is harvested much earlier in the growing season compared to field corn. Producers do this so the kernels stay moist and soft and good for eating! Not only is sweet corn much easier to eat, but it also has more natural sugar, which is why you can eat it right off the cob. Sweet corn is mainly used for human consumption – corn on the cob, canned corn and frozen corn; however in some cases it’s also used as silage – food for farm animals that is stored inside a silo.

So be sure to raise an ear in celebration of National Corn on the Cob Day tonight!

Tales from the Road: IFT ’15

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IFT is coming up July 12-14 and this year it is back in Chicago. For our food sample we decided to put a new twist on a Polish favorite and a Chicago classic!  This year we are featuring a whole grain, gluten free pierogi.

What is a pierogi?Capture 2

A pierogi is a traditional Polish dish that has become a Chicago classic. This stuffed dumpling is boiled and then sometimes pan-fried, depending on the filling. Our dough will use whole grain corn flour and rice flour (instead of the traditional wheat) to keep them gluten free.

Pierogi fillings can be sweet or savory – we will serve three different types so be sure to stop by often and see what flavors we are offering!

See how Didion’s ingredients will be used in our Pierogi:

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With great flavor, plus the added benefit of being gluten free, whole grain corn flour is a better option than many of the starch ingredients typically found in gluten free products. Whole grain corn flour bring all the bulk of other starches along with a pleasing flavor.

CORN BRAN

Corn bran — featured in the filling of the lunch/dinner pierogi — adds fiber, delivers unique mouthfeel and nut-like notes that round out the flavor profile.

CORN PREGELS

Our pre-gelatinized corn flour creates a thick preservative- and additive-free sauce, and also acts as a dough conditioner to improve the pierogi wrapper’s texture and eating quality.

Come visit Didion Milling at IFT Booth 754 and see what they are all about!

By: Riley Didion, VP of Business Development at Didion Milling

Happy National Corn on the Cob Day!

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It’s grilling season – the perfect time to enjoy a delicious ear of corn on the cob. But did you know the corn you are eating is probably not the type of corn that you drive by every day? In fact, in the United States, there is about 394 times more field corn grown than there is sweet corn!

Field Cocorn-stalkrn

Field Corn, also known as dent corn, is the traditional corn that you see driving past cornfields. These are the very tall corn ears that you see harvested in the fall. Field corn is also referred to as dent corn because of the indent that each of the kernels get as the corn dries out. Dent corn is very dry and mainly used to make animal feed and ethanol, though it is also used for food processing. Some of the products that field corn can be made into include: corn meal, corn flour, whole grain corn flours, pregelatinized corn flours, corn grits, corn bran and yeast protein.

fresh-picked-corn[1]Sweet Corn

Sweet corn, on the other hand, is the type of corn that can be eaten off the cob. This type of corn is harvested much earlier in the growing season compared to field corn. Producers do this so the kernels stay moist and soft and good for eating! Not only is sweet corn much easier to eat, but it also has more natural sugar, which is why you can eat it right off the cob. Sweet corn is mainly used for human consumption – corn on the cob, canned corn and frozen corn; however in some cases it’s also used as silage – food for farm animals that is stored inside a silo.

So be sure to raise an ear in celebration of National Corn on the Cob Day tonight!

By: Brenda Oft, Grain Merchandiser at Didion Milling

Raise Your Spoon

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Happy (belated) National Cereal Day!

At Didion, National Cereal Day is one of our favorite holidays. Why? Because many of our HarvestGold Family of Corn Products go into national cereal brands. Besides being naturally gluten-free and very cost-effective, corn brings a sweet, nutty flavor and gives cereal that crispy crunch.

Last year on national cereal day, we shared with you what certain corn products bring to the table as cereal ingredients. This year we’re going to dive a bit deeper into one specific product – corn bran.

Made from the outer layer of the corn kernel, corn bran is a low-calorie, low-fat food that offers numerous health benefits. It is a great source of protein and B-complex vitamins, as well as iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

Corn bran also allows for the addition of consistent, high-quality, total dietary fiber. This insoluble fiber is a food-grade, chemical-free, natural product that is light in color with a slightly nutty taste. It’s the perfect fiber additive: a low-fat, low-cost alternative to other grain fiber products.

So next time you’re enjoying a delicious bowl of cereal, take a peek at the ingredients. Maybe your favorite cereal has some Didion corn bran in it!

By: Jeff Dillon, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Didion Milling

A Corny Kickoff to Grilling Season

Memorial Day weekend is the big kick off to grill-out season; a time filled with barbecues, family get-togethers, burgers and Didion’s favorite thing – corn!Charcoal-Grill-embers

There are many ways that you and your family can enjoy corn this summer: corn on the cob, cornbread, hushpuppies and . . . charcoal?

Yes it’s true! When you get the charcoal out to grill you’re using corn, usually in the form of pregelatinized (precooked) yellow corn flour. Corn is commonly used in charcoal as a binding agent to help the briquettes retain their shape so they’re easy to use.

Next time you’re grilling a burger or steak ’til it’s just right, remember the crucial part that corn played in your grilled perfection.

Have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend!

By: Katie Dogs, Public Relations Manager at Didion Milling

A Pot O’HarvestGold

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Irish legends about Leprechauns and their pots of gold remind us of our very own pot of gold – that is, HarvestGold. Have you ever wondered where the brand name “HarvestGold” comes from? Mama Didion was Irish, but our Celtic heritage wasn’t the main inspiration for this name.

Harvest alludes to the personal relationships we have with local farmers. Our knowledgeable grain procurement team watches the markets and works closely with local farmers to make the best corn marketing decisions. We purchase grain directly from farmers as much as we can because we know that leads to greater profitability for farmers and higher quality products for our customers.

Gold refers to both the rich golden color of our corn products and the gold quality standards we uphold. Our quality assurance team has rigorous and comprehensive product testing procedures. Learn more in Corn Milling 101 Part 4: Product Quality Tests.

Unlike the hidden pots of gold in Irish legends, Didion HarvestGold corn products can be found all over, in both food and industrial products. Didion’s corn ingredients can be found in your favorite cereals, snacks, baked goods, cornbread and muffin mixes, pizza, breadings and batters. Didion corn grits are also used in the brewing industry as an ingredient in many local and national beer brands.

There are many industrial uses for corn as well. Corn is used in foundry molds for sinks and bathtubs and helps hold the shape of charcoal briquettes and plywood. It is also used as a carrier in the production of cat litter and rodent control products.

Whether you enjoy a Pot O’HarvestGold or a green beer, we wish you the luck of the Irish as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this weekend.

Slainte!

Happy National Cereal Day!

Didion Cereal Landscape

Did you know that the first breakfast cereal was invented in the United States way back in 1863? James Caleb Jackson came up with ‘Granula’ – bran-rich graham flour shaped into nuggets and soaked in milk overnight before being eaten.

Today there are hundreds of cereals for consumers to choose from, our favorites of course being the many that count corn as an ingredient. Besides being naturally gluten-free and very cost-effective, corn brings a sweet, nutty flavor and gives cereal that crispy crunch. It’s also available in many forms:

Corn meal: produces the cereal’s uniform shape during extrusion cooking (the process that makes your cereal “puffy”)

Corn flour: gives the cereal the right texture

Corn bran: allows the cereal to be fortified with more dietary fiber

Whole grain corn meal/flour: gives all the nutrients and minerals along with fiber

So today on National Cereal Day, raise your spoons and enjoy a delicious bowl of your favorite cereal!

By: Jeff Dillon, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Didion Milling

An Ode to Corn

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Dear corn – yellow number two,
This is our heartfelt love letter to you.

Small and yellow,
Sweet little fellow;
Beloved local grain,
Grown in Green Lake, Columbia or Dane.

This wee kernel has a big job to do,
Destined to be food and fuel for you!
Adding fiber to granola bars,
Or putting gas into your cars.

Some like corn on the side of steak,
Some like corn in their cake.
Corn is perfect battered on a dog,
While at the fair or sitting on a log.

Corn for breakfast, corn for lunch,
Gee, we sure like corn a bunch!
Gluten-free and kosher too,
Is there anything this kernel can’t do?

So lift a glass of your favorite brew,
Made with corn grits just for you!
Let’s celebrate this grand little kernel,
To which we dedicate our love eternal.

By: Katie Dogs, Public Relations Manager at Didion Milling